Southland test bed for new tourist app
An online application to promote SouthlandCOLLETTE DEVLIN
Venture Southland has teamed up with a cellphone software developer and created a visitor application, which will be the model for a national version.
STQRY (pronounced Story) is a cellphone application co-founded by Wellington-based entrepreneurs Chris Smith and Ezel Kokcu last year. Users include Wellington Zoo, San Francisco's City Art Commission and the City of Seattle heritage and artwork.
Venture Southland tourism product development co-ordinator Karyn Owen said STQRY would automatically update tourist attractions in the region and could also be used to scan QR Codes to provide further information.
The app would enhance visitors' experiences because it provided more information than a brochure - audio, video, maps, text and images - directly to a phone, she said.
Ms Owen had worked on the offline mode for the application, where users could download and use the data if out of cellphone coverage - which happened at isolated Southland tourist areas.
She hoped the application would encourage visitors to spend more time in the region, which was a challenge.
"Queenstown has many commissioned products sold by various providers but many of the great things to see and do in Southland are free and we need an online presence to promote these."
Venture staff were uploading existing brochure material - such as heritage trails - and would get in contact with community and promotions groups to ask whether they had information to share.
The offline version of the app would first feature the Te Anau-Milford Heritage Highway and the Southern Scenic Route, and content was being gathered by the Department of Conservation. It would be launched at the end of this month.
Venture Southland will have exclusive use of the offline capability for three months before it would become available to other users.
Mr Smith said the STQRY project Venture had worked on was a first for the application.
After three months, he planned to roll it out nationally to other tourism operators in the country.
"The great thing about this project is visitors can wander off the beaten track and still have access to a full multimedia experience," he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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